Was 2020 actually the year of Microsoft Teams, not Zoom?

Microsoft Teams
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Business turned to video conferencing software as a means to stay connected while working from home during the pandemic and as we prepare for the coming year, this trend will likely continue now that Zoom has become a household name.

However, while Zoom emerged as the preferred video conferencing platform for consumers due to its ease of use and popularity, Microsoft has made tremendous strides in getting organizations to adopt its own collaboration solution, Teams

Back in March for instance, Microsoft Teams saw its number of daily active users (DAU) increase by 12m over a period of just seven days to reach 44m. By October though, this number grew to 115m as the software giant continued to add new features to its collaboration software.

Engagement also increased as users began turning on video in Teams meetings two times more than they had before the pandemic began.

New features galore

As 2020 progressed, Microsoft continually updated Teams with new features and capabilities to grow the software's user base while making video conferencing more accessible and engaging.

One of the biggest changes the company made was introducing Together Mode to allow multiple users to share the same virtual space while on a video call. Instead of seeing participants in a grid, this new feature allowed everyone to be together at the same time in a conference room, auditorium or even a coffee shop. More recently Microsoft even added new winter wonderland scenes ahead of the holidays.

Another interesting feature to come to Teams this year was the introduction of Coordinated Meetings. Organizations with one or more Microsoft Teams Rooms devices as well as a Surface Hub in their meeting room can now use Coordinated Meetings to sync all of these devices together for additional screen real estate during video calls.

Microsoft Teams Panels were also introduced so that employees in an office could see whether or not a meeting space was reserved for an upcoming video call. Using these panels, workers can view meeting details, reserve a space, view upcoming reservations and even book another room using the “Nearby Rooms” feature.

Hopefully Microsoft continues to update Teams at the same pace next year as the service is quickly becoming a one-stop shop for both working remotely and in an office setting.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.